MORAN: Second most sought after mushroom in world
(SCOTT MORAN / iNFOnews.ca)
July 26, 2017 - 3:00 PM
Wild mushrooms are one of the last things we would expect to grow in the Okanagan Valley in the middle of an extended July heat wave. Thanks to the late snowmelt, the soil in the highest altitudes surrounding our valley is still moist enough for a summer crop of porcini.
Porcini are the second most sought after mushroom in the world, after the subterranean truffle that is sniffed out of the ground by animals. Porcini are harvested across North America and Europe, and have their own name in every European language.
In the North American mushroom identification guides they are usually referred to as the king bolete (pronounced bow-let).
Here in the Southern Interior these giant king boletes can be found in July and August in the highest mountains.
If you have the mushroom picking itch and are desperate to get some wild mushrooms for dinner, the ski resorts of Big White and Silver Star will produce them, but not every year.
I wish I knew why this was but they are very mysterious and elusive.
There is another mushroom growing in the same areas as the king bolete called the red-topped bolete.
This mushroom is famous across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba but not as well known in BC. It will bruise easily and turn black or blue where it has been cut or squeezed. Also, the stems are covered in black dots called scabers. The red-tops are great edibles as well and should not be left behind.
The best way to cook these mushrooms is to treat them like hash browns or potato wedges. Cut them in large chunks and pan fry until they are a bit crisp and brown on the outside.
Please remember this column is not intended as an identification guide and that you need to consult the appropriate guides for more detailed info.
If you want to try these delicious fungi without the work and gamble of your own mountain foray, visit me this Saturday at the Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market.
Check out my Facebook page Everything Wild to stay up to date on our local foraging scene.
— Scott Moran is a local forager discovering his own path to food freedom
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